Foxconn unit to cut over 10,000 jobs as robotics take overhttps://t.co/AWOfHGzayz
— Infinite Unknown (@SecretNews) February 11, 2018
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The recent trumpist trumpeting about the plans of Chinese manufacturer Foxconn to open a manufacturing facility in Wisconsin omitted a few key details — like the fact that Foxconn is being given a sweetheart tax-break that’s topped up with 15 years’ worth of guarantees of up to $200m/year in cash subsidies at taxpayer expense — a record-setting taxpayer subsidy that exceeds the previous Wisconsin record-holder by a factor of fifty.
The total bill for this incentive package that Wisconsin is giving the super-profitable Chinese manufacturer? Three billion dollars.
The ultimate goal of China’s latest Five-Year-Plan is to overtake Germany, Japan, and the United States in terms of manufacturing sophistication. To make that happen, the government needs Chinese manufacturers to adopt robots by the millions. The manufacturing hub for the electronics industry, Kunshan, in Jiangsu province is proving that that initiative is well underway. The transition from human to robot workers may upend Chinese society. “You can make the argument that robotic technology is the way to save manufacturing in China,” says Yasheng Huang, a professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. “But China also has a huge labor force. What are you going to do with them?” For now, that question remains unanswered, but that won’t stop from unleashing the biggest robotic revolution seen in recent years.
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– Minimum Wage Consequences? iPhone 6 Will Be Made By “FoxBots” (ZeroHedge, July 7, 2014):
First it was burgers, then waiters, traders, and recently earnings-report-writers; but now it’s iPhones. The endless pressure to raise minimum wages, demand bathroom breaks, expect to sleep, and tolerable breathing standards have finally culminated in China’s FoxConn – manufacturer of the iPhone – to use a ‘robot army’ to build the new model. As The Daily Mail reports, The firm has pledged to have a million robot workers by the end of the year – and CEO Terry Gou has revealed the robots, dubbed ‘Foxbots’, are in the final stages of testing.
It is believed Foxconn will install 10,000 robots as a test.
– Foxconn Working With Google on Robotics (Wall Street Journal, Feb 11, 2014):
Foxconn has long been associated as the partner for Apple, assembling the majority of the U.S. company’s iPhones and iPads.
But few people know the Taiwanese contract manufacturer, also known as Hon Hai Precision industry, has been quietly working with Google.
People familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal that Foxconn has been working with former Android executive Andy Rubin since last year to carry out the U.S. company’s vision for robotics.
To speed up robot deployment at its own factories, Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou met with Rubin in Taipei recently and they discussed new robotic technologies, they said.
– Foxconn to speed up ‘robot army’ deployment; 20,000 robots already in its factories (ITworld, June 26, 2013):
Manufacturing giant Foxconn Technology Group is on track with its goal to a create a “million robot army”, and already has 20,000 robotic machines in its factories, said the company’s CEO Terry Gou on Wednesday.
Workers’ wages in China are rising, and so the company’s research in robots and automation has to catch up, Gou said, while speaking at the company’s annual shareholder’s meeting in Taipei. “We have over 1 million workers. In the future we will add 1 million robotic workers,” he said. “Our [human] workers will then become technicians and engineers.”
Foxconn is the world’s largest contract electronics maker and counts Apple, Microsoft and Sony as some of its clients. Many of its largest factories are in China, where the company employs 1.2 million people, but rising are threatening to reduce company profits.
– Foxconn Sees New Source Of Cheap Labor: The United States (Forbes, Nov 8, 2012):
Foxconn Electronics – the China-based contract electronics manufacturer also known as Hon Hai – is planning to build manufacturing plants in the U.S., DigiTimes reports, in a story attributed to “market watchers.”
The company is reportedly evaluating “cites such as Detroit and Los Angeles.”
The story says that “since the manufacturing of Apple‘s products is rather complicated, the market watchers expect the rumored plants to focus on LCD TV production, which can be highly automated and easier.”
Nice to think they will be hiring here…but still a fascinating insult to U.S. manufacturing prowess, dontcha think – the idea that actually making Apple products is a little too complicated for Americans to handle…